Value win the league
Where doing the double became a reality
Again, not much to say about this game. We played well defensively throughout the game but just couldn't find the net on any occasion. However, we were not the only team that was going through a rough patch - Belper also had some tough opposition in their final games meaning the title was still up in the air. The reason this report is so late is due to those games - whilst the boys in red either set off for Poreč or started to revise (saus), Belper travelled first away to Boots hockey club before then also going away to Sutton Coldfield the next day. As Saturday winded down, news travelled through.
Belper had lost to Boots.
For anyone not in the Value or Exec chat to get my rather excited messages (while I really should have been looking at Jennifer Lawrence's rather attractive body in the nude in the cinema...) this meant that it was physically impossible for the Value to fall short. This was further compounded when Belper then drew against Sutton the next day to leave the Value 3 points clear at the end of proceedings. It's fair to say we have ridden our luck at multiple points throughout the season - either the last-gasp defending to keep the 1 goal lead intact, last-gasp goals to take the lead or equalise, or last-gasp players turning up half an hour late to games/meets. But you need luck sometimes, and given the last couple of years, it's fair to say it was our time to get some good luck!
"From a realistic perspective, it's a strong start and we have to hope that the runs continue, both in MRHA and in BUCS. But from a hopeful perspective - who knows? With strong fresh at the club, hopefully we can push for something this year." - When I typed these words on the 21st of October, I didn't quite realise how much we'd push for to be honest. I think the phrase 'Called It' applies so well though...
The only thing left to do, naturally, is to compare the players to Arsenal's famous double-winning side of 2002...:
Barrett - David Seaman. Class in goal, if occasionally made to look a fool, and most of the reason behind the number of clean sheets we got.
Dawson - Ashley Cole. True marauding left back, terrorising the defence and attack at the same time for the opposition.
J McLean - Tony Adams. "Mr Value" himself, and rock solid at the back as you'd expect.
Downing - Sol Campbell. Defensively minded, but not afraid of a rouge run up the pitch
Legge - Lee Dixon. Another full-back just oozing talent, setting plenty of dangerous attacks going throughout.
Bradbury - Martin Keown. Both his talent and his mouth are present on the pitch, the only debate as to which one has more effect...
Milky - Sylvinho. Made money by selling him when we could.
Ash - Patrick Viera. Not afraid of a tackle, ran the midfield show and looked classy while doing it. Didn't mind a goal or two either.
C McLean - Frederik Ljungberg. Again, ran the midfield for fun and definitely didn't mind a goal. Also, it'd be funny to see him with red hair.
Hornbuckle - Ray Parlour. Whilst not the most technically gifted, he makes up for it with his workhorse attitude.
Smylie - Robert Pires. Coolness personified inside the D and beats players for fun.
R Shah - Gio van Bronckhorst. Gifted, scores flair goals, probably should have been signed up in January but we managed to keep him (mostly).
Canham - Thierry Henry. Bangs them in, sets them up, actually wears the number 14 shirt. And is writing this so I can be who I want.
Hudson - Sylvan Wiltord. Quick and gets into good positions, just doesn't necessarily track back as much as he could.
Briggs - Dennis Bergkamp. Seems a stretch until you realise that he has had a fair share of the assists this year and popped up with an important goal in some games.
Grammaticas - Nwankwo Kanu. Sometimes struggles with moving his feet, but one of the best players to come out of Africa and play for us,
Anderson - Francis Jeffers. Good for the 10 games he played for us, added some pace up top.
Brew - Jeremie Aliadiere. Actually better than the Arsenal equivalent for once, scored as many goals for the Value as Aliadiere did for Arsenal...
That should do it? Yeah - two games left and arguably the most important ones... with Mixed and Ladies to come, it's a fair chance to see how the fresh captaincy of Briggs will go down next year.